Looking for a new place to explore? Add the Archaeological Research Institute (ARI) to your list! ARI is focused on getting the public involved in exploring and preserving regional cultural and historic sites through hands-on educational experiences doing actual archaeology. Whether with a group or visiting solo, ARI has something for everyone to enjoy while making real discoveries and helping preserve at-risk archaeological sites. Hands-on experiences begin at the Lawrenceburg, Indiana, ARI Base Camp. They can include an introduction to lab work: cleaning, sorting, weighing, and counting artifacts, guided archaeological field experiences, and tours of regional archaeological sites.
One of the unique features of ARI is the beloved mascot. Meet Rex—Archaeological Research Institute’s “Official Barkeologist” that greets visitors as they visit the base camp. Rex will give you a tour of the Guard Archaeological Preserve, virtually, and share his knowledge of history and ecology along the way. Here’s a Q&A with Rex to learn more about the ARI and how you can participate!
Q: Tell us about yourself, Rex!
Rex: I’m the mascot here at ARI and I love to take visitors on tours of the preserve. There’s a children’s book written about me and even a virtual version of me that visitors get to interact with during their tour.
Q: What does the Archaeological Research Institute do?
Rex: We work with local communities, the state, museums, and universities to research, study, and preserve local archaeological sites. We conduct field work from May through October and encourage the public to join us in our work year-round in the field and the lab. For every hour we spend doing field work we spend five hours in the lab researching, processing artifacts, gathering data, then making it all publicly digestible in our reports, presentations, and newsletter.
Q: How can I get involved?
Rex: Come visit me for a tour or hands-on experience! We offer adult experiences for ages 12 and up and Junior experiences for kids under 12. You can work side-by-side with my archaeologist friends making discoveries, throwing a spear with an atlatl, and analyzing native plants in our native cultivars garden.
Q: When is a good time to visit or volunteer?
Rex: Year round! The ARI Base Camp is open for lab experiences, volunteering, after-school-programming. We like field experiences and tours when the weather is nice. Don’t forget, we rely on generous donations from visitors, so we’re able to make all our programs FREE!
Learn more about the Archeological Research Institute
Ready to plan a visit? Check out the ARI website to learn more about the Rex led Guard Archaeological Preserve Tour, local archaeological tours, events happening and archaeological experiences you and a friend can have at the ARI Base Camp!